In this section, we take a look at the overall results provided by the UK-wide sample, including how the pandemic is affecting access to childcare, working routines, and other aspects of everyday life for the British population.

Latest update: 29th October 2020

 Impact on families and households 
Who have people been living with during lockdown?
  • 57.1% are sharing their living space with their partner/spouse and 30.1% of people live with their children.
  • 12.9% share the house with their parents.
  • 15.9% live on their own and 6% share a house with friends / housemates.
How has the pandemic and lockdown restrictions affected household relationships?
  • For most people – 43% –, their relationship with family members or housemates hasn't changed.
  • Only 2.2% of our sample said that their household relationships have gotten a lot worse.
This is what the parents and guardians – 26.7% of our UK sample – had to say about childcare during this period. 
  • The majority are minding their child(ren) while working full or part-time from home.
We asked parents how they felt about schools going back.
  • Parents' and guardians' opinion about the schools returning has shifted significantly between August and September.
How do parents and guardians feel about the way the Government has handled the return to school?
  • 51.9% of parents and guardians feel negatively about the Government's handling of this process, with 18.0% feeling 'very negative' about it.
  • Only 3.4% of people think the Government handled the return to school in a 'very positive' way.
How do parents/guardians feel about their child(ren) potentially interacting with people infected with COVID-19?
  • Understandably, most parents feel quite or very anxious about this possibility.
We also wanted to know if children were being instructed to wear face masks during any of the following situations:
  • 53.7% of children won't be wearing face coverings during any of the school period, including their commute.
Have parents/guardians been contacted by their child(ren)'s school during the pandemic?
  • 56.4% received regular updates over the last six months, while only 11.0% have confirmed they haven't received any updates at all.
How confident are parents/guardians in schools' ability to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
  • Most parents – 77.2% – feel some degree of confidence on schools to be able to handle the pandemic and the spread of the virus.
When and why would people consider taking their children out of school?
  • Advice from the school or new Government guidance are the biggest reasons why most parents/guardians would take their children out of school.
  • 23.6% would not take their children out of school for any reason, unless the schools closed again.

 Impact on education and students 
While most of our sample – 61.5% – is currently studying at university, 1.1% are studying for GCSES, 11.8% for A-Levels, 18.2% are getting their post-graduate degrees, and 7.5% are working on other types of qualification.
We asked students in September how the pandemic was currently affecting their studies.
  • The three top ways in which COVID-19 is impacting students are: 83.0% are having remote classes, lessons or lectures, while 52.1% feel like the pandemic has impacted their mental health to the point where it is affecting their ability to study and 41.5% feel like they don't have the necessary equipment to be able to learn remotely.
  • 9.6% of our sample will not been able to attend university at all this year.
  • 21.3% have reported a reduction in their grades.
We asked university students if they were sharing accommodation with people they knew before March 2020.
  • Most uni students (51.8%) are living with known housemates or friends. 28.7% of students will be living with new people this school year.
And what about the students that have to commute to a study/communal area? Do they feel comfortable doing it?
  • 32.3% of students feel comfortable about it, with 11.0% feeling 'very comfortable' and 21.3% 'quite comfortable'. However, most students (33.5%) feel uncomfortable with the idea of commuting.
To what extent do the students surveyed agree with the statement: "COVID-19 has had a serious impact on my university experience."
  • As expected, a smashing majority of students believes the pandemic has had a major impact on their experience of higher education.
  • 2.5% of students are unsure of the impact so far, and only 3.7% disagree with the statement.

 Health and protection measures 
In mid-October, we asked people if they were living in localised lockdown areas.
  • According to the data collected, 32.1% of the population is living under thougher restrictions. 
Were people in favour of a short (2-4 weeks) national lockdown/circuit break in October?
  • The majority – 69.6% – are in favour of a general lockdown lasting between 2-4 weeks.
We asked people how they felt about potentially having to wear a mask outdoors if it were made mandatory.
  • The majority of people – 47.3% – feel positively about this possibility, if they were asked to wear a face covering outside the house.
  • On the other side of the spectrum, 28.0% of people feel negatively about this proposition.
Directly affected by the coronavirus:
  • Comparing the data collected in April vs. May, an extra 18.50% have had COVID-19 or related symptoms, but weren't tested and have recovered.
  • An extra 2.97% of our sample have been tested: 1.95% tested negative, 0.28% tested positive, and 0.74% were waiting for their results at the time of submitting their responses to our latest survey.
Underlying conditions:
  • Approximately 34% of the population consider themselves to be at-risk based on government guidelines, due to underlying health conditions or due to their age.
  • 13.69% nationally have a respiratory condition, 3.16% a heart condition, 4.08% have diabetes and 9.47% are currently going through treatment for a health condition such as cancer.
How much do people around the UK understand COVID-19?
We asked people if anyone in their household was self-isolating.
We asked people if they knew someone who had COVID-19 or related symptoms. 
  • Back in April, 24.79% of people told us people outside their household had contracted COVID-19 or related symptoms. 2.95% had someone within their household with symptoms and 7.59% had work colleagues that had been affected.
  • In May, the results show an overall increase in the number of connections with COVID-19 or related symptoms.
A breakdown of how people are handling the pandemic and protecting themselves during this period:
  • Back in April, 52.8% of those UK wide were self-isolating. In May, only 33.91% of people claimed to be self-isolating. The data regarding social distancing remains the same.
  • More people are purchasing in bulk in May compared to April.
Which behaviours are people changing/no longer doing as a result of the pandemic?
  • Shaking hands and hugging are at the top of behaviours that people have changed due to the pandemic.
  • 43.0% of people are determined to avoid public transportation and 46.9% are not touching handrails anymore.
  • 13.4% of Brits are not shopping in-person anymore and 11.0% are avoiding self-checkout machines.
How do you feel about the decision announced in July to make face coverings mandatory in some public closed spaces?
  • 70.4% of people feel positive about this, while only 12% have negative feelings regarding the new rules.
Does it make you feel safer if other people are wearing face coverings in public?
  • The majority of people – 73.5% – feels safer knowing that other people are wearing face coverings in public closed spaces.
We have been asking throughout the pandemic if people in the UK have been wearing personal protective equipment when going into closed public space. This is how our attitude towards PPE has changed since the beginning of the pandemic.
  • In June/July, the amount of people wearing PPE in closed public spaces more than doubled when compared to April/May, from 32.3% to 71.56%.
  • This number grew an extra 12.8% in August/September.
  • The number of people who were not using PPE in June/July has gone down, while the amount of people who only use it sometimes and/or are unsure about the rules has grown.
Between reusable and single use, what kind of face coverings have people been using during the pandemic?
  • Three out of every four people who replied to our survey have been wearing reusable face coverings.
  • Only 25% prefer single-use facial protective equipment.
We asked people to share some of their concerns about PPE and these are the top ones:
  • Environmental concern is a bit one with 39.3% of the votes, followed by people not feeling safer and/or feeling nervous in public for wearing PPE.
Have you used the Track and Trace app or signed in when going into a pub, restaurant or other non-essential business?
  • Most people – 54.0% – have shared their contact details or signed in to the app when visiting a non-essential business.
As of September 2020, have any members of our surveyed community been contacted by a pub, restaurant or similar business about a potential COVID-19 outbreak?
  • Only 1.2% of people confirmed they had been contacted.
How does the British population feel about a vaccine being developed relatively quickly?
  • The opinions are quite split in this case, with a significant amount of people not feeling particularly confident about a vaccine.
If there were a vaccine available by the end of the year, would people get it?
  • Again, the response is fairly divided, with 15.5% of people saying they would definitely not get the vaccine and 27.7% saying they definitely would.
Here are a few quotes from participants in our research about the lockdown, the pandemic and the impact on the population.
"I can’t see the pandemic ending anytime soon. I work in a large hospital and I see what the virus has done. Some people think they are immune and don’t understand they could unknowingly kill someone just but by going shopping."
"Nations placed their own interests and political ideologies first and now we are in a mess. I think the virus will be with us for a while, but will be less able to spread. We will return to a new normal; what that will be I do not know."
"Fewer deaths than Asian Flu, fewer deaths from flu related to Beast from the East, etc. Quite an overreaction, although some measures were needed."
"I feel reassured that the majority of people are following the government guidance to reduce infections, but I will not feel safe until there is a vaccine."
"There's only so much we can do and worry about, so as long as we're doing what we should be, there's nothing else we should worry about. Just take it as it comes."
"It is mostly out of our control so I am accepting of that, but still doing the small bits that I can (like social distancing) to try to reduce the spread of the virus."

 Changes to lifestyle 
To what extent has COVID-19 impacted the British population's lifestyle? 
  • Only about 6% of the UK population believe the pandemic has had little to no effect on their lifestyle.
  • The vast majority – approximately 74% – have greatly felt the consequences of the pandemic.
During lockdown, we asked people if they had access to private outside space, such as a garden.
  • Approximately 80% of people have access to an outside space they can use privately.

Do you think you have become more reliant on technology during the pandemic?
  • UK-wide, most participants agree that their life has become more dependent on technology, with 84% answering yes to our question.
  • Only 16% of people don't agree with our question.
Back in April, we asked what kind of measures people had to take following the beginning of the pandemic.
  • 56.66% of the population have had to cancel a holiday.
  • 30.75% of the population have had to look into government support for their personal situation, with 5.82% having had to defer a mortgage payment, and 8.05% having deferred rental payment.
  • 67.02% nationwide have had to review their household spending/budget.
  • 20.03% of the population have had to cancel standing orders in response to COVID-19.
Back in June, we asked people what were the top three things they would do as soon as lockdown/restrictions were lifted.
  • Seeing family and/or friends were the clear winners, with over 60% of our sample selecting these options as part of their top three.
  • Booking a holiday abroad was the third most popular option, closely followed by travelling in the UK and getting a haircut.
  • 7.5% of our sample can't wait to see their partners after lockdown restrictions are lifted.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the British population's overall priorities?
  • The pandemic changed how 26% of people feel about travelling, now considering it as less of a priority. Physical and mental wellbeing, spending time outdoors and spending time with family are now more important to the majority of our sample. 
And which of the activities and routines adopted during the pandemic are people most likely to stick with even after all restrictions are lifted?
  • 46.1% are looking to make video calls with family members and friends part of their long-term routines.
  • 41.3% want to continue running and/or working out at home beyond COVID-19, along with 51.5% looking to keep baking and/or cooking more at home.
  • Also, the rise in crafts and artsy hobbies is here to stay, with 14.4% looking to keep knitting/sewing/doing crochet or crafts.
Has the pandemic inspired people to make any big life changes?
  • In terms of key lifestyle changes, 49.1% want to try new hobbies/activities, 39.2% want to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle, and 32% want to travel more.
  • When it comes to employment, 18.3% are looking to change jobs, 22% are looking to changing careers entirely and 18% looking to go freelance/work for themselves.
  • 15% are looking to leave the UK and 13.4% are thinking about moving to a rural area.
Impact of lockdown on food and drinking habits.
  • 48% of people have cut down on take-away food. Equally, 48% are now cooking their own meals on a more regular basis.
  • 30% are consuming alcohol more frequently during lockdown.
How would people describe the changes to their eating habits since the beginning of the pandemic?
  • In quite a balanced response, 33.2% of people said their eating habits had become healthier (a lot or a bit), while 30.0% admit their diets have become more unhealthy.
  • The bigger group (36.8% of our sample) have not noticed any major changes in their diets since beginning of March 2020.
How has the pandemic affected exercise habits?
  • While a significant amount of people have decreased their level of outside activity, 41% are working out more at home.
  • In terms of decreased activity, 52% are walking outside less often, 18% have reduced their outdoors running, and 14% of people are not cycling outside as often. 
Six months after the beginning of the pandemic, we asked people if they have been exercising more than before COVID-19.
  • The response was quite balanced, with the majority answering positively in some degree. 15.1% are exercising a lot more and 26.6% are exercising a bit more now, while there has been no change for 21.36% of people.

 Impact on holidays, travelling and leisure 
In July, we went back to the topic of holidays and asked people if they had booked a holiday in the next 12 months.
  • 45.6% of people have booked a holiday for the next 12 months.
  • Out of this group, 23.88% booked a completely new holiday and 54.19% re-arranged a previous holiday.
After learning about people's holiday plans for the next 12 months, we wanted to know how confident they actually feel that their plans will go ahead.
  • The results were quite split, with 51.9% not feeling completely confident about their holiday plans going ahead in the desired timeframe.
How far in the future are people planning their holidays?
  • Most people – 67.4% – are hoping they will be able to go away in the next six months. 
And how are people planning to get to their holiday destinations?
  • Most people will be flying out, which probably means they will be going abroad.

 Shopping and visiting restaurants/pubs during the pandemic 
Has the pandemic affected the population's shopping habits? We asked people how often they were going to supermarkets.
  • The big majority – over 60% – confirmed they are visiting supermarkets less, while 12% are currently completely avoiding supermarkets.
  • A small percentage – 4.50% – are visiting supermarkets more often than before.
We asked people which products they bought during lockdown.
  • Baking ingredients and/or equipment was the clear winner, with 55.4% of people buying baking items during the pandemic.
  • Online entertainment subscriptions like Netflix or Disney+ was the second most popular purchase.
  • Gym clothing/equipment was the third most popular purchase during lockdown.
  • Entertainment-wise, 20% of people bought puzzles/board games and 18.7% purchased online/video games.
Have people subscribed to any of the following services in the last few months?
  • Since the pandemic started, 5.3% of people have subscribed to a meal planning service (like HelloFresh, for example) and 3.3% to an alcohol subscription service.
  • Beauty boxes have also proven to be quite popular among the UK public, with 3.5% of people signing up to one of these subscriptions since the COVID-19 boom.
What do people think about these subscriptions in terms of quality?
  • Most participants rated these services as excellent (33.5%) or very good (47.7%).
Are people likely to stick with these subscriptions in the future?
  • The majority – 62.3% – are confident they'll stick with these services.
How do people feel about the idea of visiting non-essential shops from mid-June? 
  • Almost half of our sample – 46.2% – feel uncomfortable.
And will people visit non-essential shops once they reopen? 
  • Back in June, 42.2% were not planning to go non-essential shopping right away.
In July, we asked people if they had visited any of the following businesses since the end of the relevant restrictions.
  • Non-essential shops are the most popular destinations, with 46.6% of the population admitting to visiting at least one store since mid-June.
  • Pubs are the second most popular non-essential place.
Also in July, we asked participants if they had had to sign up or provide any personal information when visiting non-essential businesses.
  • Only 39.8% of shoppers and visitors were asked to sign up when visiting a store or a pub, for example. 
Have British people been supporting local businesses during the pandemic?
  • An overwhelming 71.7% confirm they have been buying from and supporting small local businesses during lockdown.
  • 21.6% have admitted they are not supporting local businesses for different reasons (proximity, prices, product diversity, etc.), while 6.8% are not sure.
And how busy were the pubs, hairdressers, hotels, etc. visited by our participants?
  • For 36% of people, these venues were as busy as they would expect.
  • 39% thought the non-essential businesses they visited were 'quieter' or 'a lot quieter' than expected.
  • On the opposite end, only 25% thought the places visited were 'a lot busier' or 'a bit busier' than expected.
We asked once again if people feel safe when visiting non-essential businesses in the UK.
  • The data pretty much hasn't changed regarding people's feelings of security or lack thereof when visiting non-essential businesses between June/July and August/September.
  • Four out of five people felt either 'very safe' or 'safe' when going to the pub, the restaurant or the hairdresser, for example.
We asked people if they had used the 'Eat Out to Help Out' scheme in August and how many times.
  • Out of the 71.8% of our sample who confirmed they had used the scheme, 38.1% used it 1-2 times and 42.7% used it 3-5 times.
  • Only 4.6% of our sample used the scheme over 10 times.
When eating out since the beginning of August, where have people been sitting?
  • In every four out of five occasions when eating at a restaurant, people have been sitting inside.
Did people think restaurants were busier than usual when compared to the previous months?
  • 71.7% of people thought restaurants were 'a lot busier' or at least 'a little busier'.
Now that the scheme is over, will people's eating out habits change?
  • The results are clear: 62.5% of people will eat out less often for now, while only 2.42% of restaurant-goers predict they will be eating out more now the scheme is over.
  • For 35.1% of people, the end of the scheme won't change their habits significantly.
And how many times have people visited the pub in the last three months (June, July and August)?
  • Out of the 58.0% of our sample who confirmed they have visited a pub in the last three months, 43.6% have only been 1-2 times.
  • 7.6% of our sample have paid over 10 visits to the pub since beginning of June.
How did people order their food and/or drinks at the pub/restaurant?
  • In one out of every three visits to a pub or restaurant, people ordered at the table.
  • Mobile apps, websites and QR codes have proven popular as methods to order at pubs/restaurants, with people using these tools on 41.0% of their visits to these businesses.

 Social impact 
We asked people if they have reported another member of the public for not following the advice set out by the government.
  • While the big majority of people have not reported another member of the public, over 14% are considering the possibility and 5.6% have done so.
What about socially-distant gatherings with people outside of the same household?
  • 19% of people have confessed to have met with people from outside of their households.

We asked people who identify as disabled if they think sources of information like online news and official updates from the Government are accessible.
  • Over 35% of disabled respondents do not think Government updates about COVID-19 are accessible, and over 41% share the same opinion regarding online news.
Four members of our Accessibility Collective and online community shared their feedback on what it is like to try and access essential information during this period.
Norin | visual impairment

It's a mixed experience. There is  some information available online, but I’m not really good with technology, so I’m finding hard using some of the websites. For me, it’s a very limited experience. As a blind person, I would prefer a more accessible experience. As a blind person [listening to the updates] on TV, it’s very difficult because I need audio description, but very few programs have audio description. And none of the news channels are providing services for blind people, so I have to ask people what’s being shown on the screen. Finding information on social media is a challenge, especially to decide which information is genuine and which is fake, so I only click on trustworthy social media links.
Thomas | hearing impairment

"I have found it extremely difficult looking at government information about COVID-19 and I’m extremely unsure where I stand with many things. [The instruction] about keeping two meters apart has been clear, but apart from that, extra information has not been made accessible and is extremely difficult using public transportation in London to be able to get around. We are all a little confused due to the mixed messages being given."
Martine | hearing impairment

"There is currently a #WhereIsTheInterpreter campaign for BSL interpreters to be made available during all Government’s broadcasts and briefings. Currently, the onus is on broadcasters (BBC, etc.) and only the BBC show it on a specialised news channel that not everyone has access to. Also, a large number of content online is not subtitled."
Joseph | visual impairment

"The Government website is good for finding out answers to questions that are not answered on the news media, but it would be nice to have access to data of COVID-19 cases in an accessible way, like a chart or graph. Using the news apps on my phone is the most accessible option for me, but sometimes it can feel like it’s too much information.” 

 Trust in the government and the media 
We asked again how confident people felt about the Government's action and plans.
  • The number of people who felt 'very confident' or 'somewhat confident' back in April and May has significantly dropped in September.
  • A lot more people are also feeling unsure about the Government's economic, social and health-related plans.
Trust in the media and news sources: 
  • Less people fully trust or trust most media according to the most recent data, compared to the numbers collected in April.
  • Along the same lines, more people now claim they don't trust any media when compared to the data collected in April.
  • 44% classify the BBC as their main source of news related to COVID-19, followed by 10% who are using social media platforms as their main source of information.
Overall, which sources of information are people using? 
  • Online news, official Government updates and TV/radio are the top three sources of information.

How often are people getting information from these sources? 
  • 64% of people check online news websites once or more daily.
  • 48% receive updates or discuss the news with friends and family on a daily basis.
How many people have downloaded the 'Track and Trace' app? 
  • The number of people who have downloaded the app has grown considerably from 7.9% in July to 56.8% in October.
In July, we asked people how they felt about the situation and the possibility of a second peak. 
  • Most people – 59.8% – are confident that we have passed the first peak of COVID-19, but believe there will be a second wave of cases.
  • 17% of people believe things will never go back to normal and COVID-19 will never go away.
  • Only 13.1% of people are confident that COVID-19 is behind us and things will soon start to go back to normal.
Here are a few quotes from participants in our research about the impact of the pandemic, specifically about their trust in the Government's actions.
"I'm upset that the UK has sunk so low through slow action that we have the worst death rate in Europe and second worst in the world. I'm angry that the Government tried to spin this by saying international comparisons are not meaningful. Worried that the Government care more about business interests than people, that the PM is a proven liar who cares more about his career than anything else, and they will lift the lockdown too quickly and endanger us all."
"Disgusted with our government for their slow, arrogant, ineffective response, and their refusal to learn from other countries' quick, effective response. Desperately sorry for all those who have died. Appalled that NHS staff and other key workers do not have sufficient personal protective equipment. At a loss to understand why the UK death rate is so high and appalled that UK borders are still open to anyone with no testing or quarantine on arrival.
"This was badly handled by the Government, deaths could have been avoided. I'm not confident in Government statements and worried about how people are reacting to the lockdown."
"Frustrated at the Government for making the situation worse than it needed to be by acting slowly. The NHS has succeeded in spite of the Government and not because of them."
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